This weeks weekly UOWWB question is in regards to the current F1 World Champion and current Indy 500 winner and ICS Champion.
If Lewis Hamilton and Scott Dixon switched places for the 2009 season, how would
each driver fare in the other's league? Who would be more successful in 2009?
I guess to answer this question, we'll go through a bunch of different circumstances to each ride.
Now, you have to take into consideration where you think Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes is aerodynamically this year compared to where they were in '08. With the new regulations, that could definately affect Scott Dixon's ability to win the 2009 F1 World Drivers Championship, while you have to assume that Ganassi would still have the top cars in 2009 with the lack of development available to teams.
The tracks that each driver would be driving on would be a huge change. Dixon would be going from the tight turns of street circuits and the long sweeping pedal-to-the-floor ovals to the winding historic tracks in Europe and the new Tilke tracks that have been designed to create good racing and challenge the drivers. Hamilton would be going from these long european tracks to the IRL tracks. I would think the transition from road courses and street courses in N.A. to road courses and street courses in the F1 world would be easier for Dixon since Hamilton would also have to learn how to run ovals flat out, and he would need some time to determine if he had the balls to do it.
Again, I think the atmosphere would be difficult for Hamilton to overcome since he would be going from a place where he is barely seen on race weekends by fans to a place where he would be swarmed in the paddock area by media and fans alike. Also, the added pressure of being the first black driver to contend for the championship would attract even more media attention to Lewis. As much as I think Dixon likes the fans and enjoys the atmosphere of the IRL weekends, the switch to a nice relaxing weekend in the F1 paddock where you only need to be out in the public for practice, qualifying and racing would be easier to do then to move into America where the atmosphere is much more intense, media wise.
Dixon has sat in an F1 car before, and tested for Williams-BMW in 2004 after his first ICS championship. Lewis Hamilton has not run a Dallara Indycar before, and I doubt he has run the amount of different cars Dixon has run over the years so I have to give the experience edge to Dixon in acclimating to new cars.
Year after year, Ganassi and Penske and AGR are the top three teams in F1, and lately, AGR seems to have fallen off the pace leaving just 2 Ganassi drivers and 2 Penske drivers to compete for the crown. In 2008, F1 saw more winners then usual, and it seemed as though more teams were able to compete at the top echelon with Renault, Ferrari, BMW, McLaren and even the baby Red Bulls. I think Hamilton has less competition in the ICS then Dixon does in F1.
The hardest thing to judge is raw talent. Who is the better driver in the exact same equipment day after day? They have both proven to be at the top of the class in their respective divisions, but, will we ever know who is a better driver? I don't think we can answer that unless we see both in the same car on any given weekend.
I assume both Hamilton and Dixon would be extremely competitive in the opposite series. But I think Dixon would have the better season since he would not need time to adapt to a new form of track whereas Hamilton would have to learn the ovals in his first year which could cost him a few points in the first few oval races.
If this question asked who would have a better career in eachothers series, I would give the nod to Hamilton due to his age and his time to learn and improve in America. But I think I have to give this one to Dixon. I think he would definately have the better season in 2009 if he were in a Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes F1 car.
Winner, and still Indy 500 and ICS Champion, Scott Dixon